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Understand Your Septic Tank So You Can Keep It Running Properly

As a homeowner, it would be nice if you could simply flush your toilet and not worry about what happens after that. However, while it might be unsavory to think about a septic tank not working, you need to understand how your septic tank works and what it takes to keep it working so that you never have to worry about what would happen when it malfunctions. 

The Inner Working of a Septic Tank

A septic tank has two basic compartments. The first compartment is where the waste from your house enters the system. Gravity forces heavier items to settle to the bottom of the tank. Anything that floats is food for bacteria that will help to break it down. The water in between is what enters into the second chamber. As more water enters the system, it pushes water from the first chamber to the second and then to a leach field. 

Protecting the Health of Your Septic Tank

Bacteria is integral to the proper functioning of your system. Thus, you should do everything possible to make sure that bacteria in your system stays alive. Using bleach, antibacterial soap, or any other compounds that can kill the bacteria in your system should be avoided. While you may not be able to completely avoid antibacterial agents, you should limit their use and consider using probiotics to keep the bacteria healthy. 

Simply keeping your bacteria healthy is not enough to protect your system. Some compounds will not break down in water or with the bacteria in your system. The more you flush such items down your drain, the more they fill up your septic tank and prevent it from working like it should. You should have your tank pumped periodically anyway, but if you avoid flushing feminine hygiene products, toys, baby wipes, and other non-biodegradable products, you won't have to have your tank pumped as often.

When you move into a new home, you should not assume that it is on a municipal sewage system. You should inquire about whether you have a septic tank. In order to avoid nasty problems like sewage rising up from your septic tank and infiltrating your yard or backing up into your house, you need to make sure you understand your system and what it takes to keep it running properly. Even though a septic tank is meant to run without the need for a lot of effort on the part of the homeowner, you still need to play your part no matter how small it is.